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Eulogy for a farm cat or reincarnation as a goat

Posted 8/13/2015 10:45pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Chino, the orange cat, walked out of a corn field and into our lives 12 years ago.  He appeared on our doorstep not too long after we moved into our house, about a week after I brought home two barn kittens from Wisconsin, Marie and Louie.  Unlike most stray cats I’ve wooed over the years, Chino (his name comes from the masculine version of Puerto Rican speak for “orange” or “china”), took very little coaxing to win him over.  Somehow he sensed he belonged here on this farm, with us. Before long, he was on the couch, in my lap and working his way into my heart. 

He was a great hunter, helping us fight the voles who insisted on eating the roots of our fruit trees.  After a while we noticed that his pupils were always dilated.  I didn’t think much of his lemur-like stare until we started to notice him bumping into things.  This seemed odd for a cat; feline hunters are supposed to have laser sharp vision.  So, I took him to the vet who diagnosed his condition as a congenital degenerative eye disease. Chino was slowly going blind.  Because his loss of sight was gradual, he had time to compensate and build his other senses of touch, hearing and smell.  Even as his condition worsened, he remained a superior hunter to his “partner” in crime with perfect cat vision, Marie.

chino stalking paulie

I like to think that Chino’s dilated pupils were a metaphor for our adventures in farming; eyes wide open to let in all the light, but sometimes unable to focus on the finer details.   At each turn that moved our farm in directions we had never anticipated, the eyes wide open propelled us forward.  Chino was with us for all the twists and turns, frequenting the goat barns to sit atop the hay or catch a mouse, climbing on our backs as we sowed our garden each spring or, more frequently later in life, dozing on the porch on a bale of straw.

chino lounging on straw

He took ill a little less than two weeks ago and died peacefully in my arms early yesterday morning. While we never knew his age exactly, he lived a pretty good long life with us on our farm. We laid him to rest in the shade of the porch corner where he loved to perch and lounge.    True to the cycle of death and life on the farm, Polly (one of our Nigerian Dwarf does who got rebred about 2 months after she kidded in late February—Oops!), kidded with twins early this morning: a dainty little doe less than three pounds and a stocky little buck with a very large head.  I’d like to believe in reincarnation. I’d like to believe that my beloved Chino has come back to us as a sweet little goat. 

Farmers’ Market News and Upcoming Farm Events

We will be attending only ONE farmers’ market this Saturday, August 15th: Urbana’s Market at the Square.  We WON’T be attending Chicago’s Green City Market because of the Chicago Air Show.  We will return to Green City Market on Saturday, August 22nd.  We have some beautiful cheeses for you this week:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food (limited quantities)
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue—yes it’s back and it’s creamy and nutty and delicious

You say you want something sweet to cool you down? How about gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Cajeta (goat milk caramel sauce) swirl
  • Lemon Balm
  • Fresh Mint
  • Sweet Corn
  • Lavender
  • Peach sorbetto

We'll have a few bags of our goat milk caramels as well as our additive farmhouse crackers too. We’ll also be bringing some delectable baked goods made with our peaches and black berries (gallettes, pies, cookies). 

There are a number of events coming up at the farm in the next few weeks:

Wednesday Farm Open House: we should have U-pick peaches for our white peach variety, Belle of Georgia, but we’ll let you know for sure early next week.

Weed Dating at Heirloominous Farm on August 20th (for more info, visit The Land Connection’s website)

Third Friday Pop-Up on August 21st, featuring heritage pork “porquetta” sandwiches and a whole bunch of summer sides. The menu should be posted to our website some time this week.

Dinners on the Farm—there are still tickets available to several of the fall dinner dates. Check 'em out!

Fork in the Road Tasting Trail—September 13th with KD Wild Game Ranch and Sleepy Creek Vineyard and Winery.  It's a great way to taste your way across central IL on a Sunday afternoon.


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.